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Expected levels of progress and grading

Reformed GCSEs – A Parent’s Guide

As you are probably aware, the government has introduced radical new changes to the structure and assessment of GCSEs.

The familiar system of A*-G grades has been replaced with number grading, 9-1. Also, in addition to the changes to the structure of GCSEs, the Department of Education has re-defined a ‘standard pass’ to be a grade 4 (the equivalent to a C in the old GCSE grading system) and a ‘strong pass’ to be a grade 5 (the equivalent to a high C or low B).

Only reformed subjects can be studied from 2018 onwards.

In reformed GCSEs, the ‘lettered’ A*-G system is replaced with numbers, ranging from 9 to 1.

9 is the highest grade that candidates can achieve and 1 is the lowest. In addition, GCSE content is becoming significantly more difficult over the coming years.

Here’s a diagram of how the old scores compare to the newer ones:

9-1

Old GCSE

BTEC

9

A*

 

8

7

A

Distinction

6

 

B

 

 

5

Merit

 

C

 

 

 

Pass

 

4

3

D

 

E

 

2

 

F

 

1

 

G

 

U

U

 

The main features of the new GCSEs are:

  • The new grading system help distinguish the new GCSEs from previous versions.
  • Assessment to be mainly by exam, with other types of assessment used only where they are needed to test essential skills.
  • There is new, more demanding content, which has been developed by government and the exam boards. Extended writing skills and advanced text comprehension are essential skills in new qualifications.
  • Exams are split into ‘foundation tier’ and ‘higher tier’ if one exam paper does not give all students the opportunity to show their knowledge and abilities.
  • Resit opportunities will only be available each November in English Language and Mathematics.